Category Archives: Directed by Jonathan Mostow

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, Jonathan Mostow)

What’s interesting about Terminator 3-besides the “I’ll be back” references-is the lack of cheap homage to the first two. It’s an all new Terminator movie.

It’s crappy, but it’s its own thing. Though sometimes being its own thing just hurts it-Brad Fiedel’s awesome Terminator theme isn’t used at all. It’s also way too short. Running 108 minutes, there’s just not enough time for it to make any real impression. The second one established the franchise as epic; this one is only a minute longer than the first one (with twenty-six times the budget).

Speaking of budget, while director Mostow had the highest one ever greenlit (at the time), he’s an indifferent director. He brings no style or vision to the film whatsoever. I guess the car chases, while stupid, are pretty well-handled.

It’s sort of funny to see Claire Danes in the film; I remember when she was an indie actress. Though I guess Terminator 3 is actually an indie production.

The writing’s terrible. The revelations of how the franchise’s events come to pass are idiotic. The plot moves on serendipitous events and not much else, except some dumb revisions of what was going on in the second movie.

While it’s terrible, I do hope Nick Stahl kept a picture of himself in awful old age make-up as the scarred future leader, who’s really dumb, which is kind of funny.

Oh, the female Terminator-it’s never explained why they make a gender specific model.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Jonathan Mostow; screenplay by John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, based on a story by Brancato, Ferris and Tedi Sarafian and characters created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd; director of photography, Don Burgess; edited by Nicolas De Toth and Neil Travis; music by Marco Beltrami; production designer, Jeff Mann; produced by Matthias Deyle, Mario Kassar, Hal Lieberman, Joel B. Michaels, Andrew G. Vajna and Colin Wilson; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Nick Stahl (John Connor), Claire Danes (Kate Brewster), Kristanna Loken (T-X), David Andrews (Robert Brewster), Mark Famiglietti (Scott Petersen) and Earl Boen (Dr. Peter Silberman).


RELATED

Surrogates (2009, Jonathan Mostow)

So they take Bruce Willis and de-age him, but then they put Rosamund Pike in old age make-up? That one doesn’t make much sense.

Surrogates is another modern future concept movie–like iRobot or Minority Report–the future comes crashing down because of the movie star hero, there’s some kind of conspiracy involving the new technology, on and on it goes. Surrogates has a lot of potential, but it’s like Mostow doesn’t get it–they can throw people around and have them break, they can have this extensive chase scenes (robot vs. car), but Mostow only uses such devices sparingly.

The film runs less than ninety minutes and barely has time for one subplot, let alone any texture. The script’s, on a scenic level, okay; the film needed a firmer hand, kind of a mainstream Tati approach (the end reminds of Play Time, visually, for just a moment). Oliver Wood’s fantastic photography helps.

Surrogates doesn’t take any time to delve into the film’s society either–the concept of people piloting beautified versions of themselves around is incredibly interesting, but where are the broken down models people can’t afford to have repaired or the old ones. The logic only works when these robots equate to cars and the American devotion to them. But these aspects aren’t pitfalls, they’re missed opportunities. Instead of making a mainstream Play Time, it’s a Bruce Willis movie. And a short one.

It would have been amazing with Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, for example.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Jonathan Mostow; screenplay by Michael Ferris and John Brancato, based on the comic book by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele; director of photography, Oliver Wood; edited by Kevin Stitt; music by Richard Marvin; production designer, Jeff Mann; produced by David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Max Handelman; released by Touchstone Pictures.

Starring Bruce Willis (Tom Greer), Radha Mitchell (Peters), Rosamund Pike (Maggie), Boris Kodjoe (Stone), James Francis Ginty (Canter), James Cromwell (Older Canter), Ving Rhames (the Prophet), Michael Cudlitz (Colonel Brendon) and Jack Noseworthy (Strickland).


RELATED